Female breadwinners face financial uncertainty

Published 12:00 pm Friday, September 28, 2012

(ARA) – Busy is the buzzword for today’s working woman. Whether she is self-employed or works outside of the home, there’s a good chance she also juggles tasks like raising children, caring for aging parents, and making time for personal relationships. Recent statistics also show that women are shouldering much of the financial responsibility when it comes to the household income.

More and more women are taking over the position of financial head of their family. Fifty-three percent of the more than 1,400 women surveyed in Prudential Financial’s latest biennial study on the “Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women,” now in its 12th year, have become primary breadwinners within the household. The shift stems from numerous factors, including a partner’s loss of employment, divorce, and more women marrying later in life.

The question is: Does increased responsibility lead to greater financial confidence?

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The answer is: Not necessarily.

The survey noted that only 10 percent of female breadwinners feel very knowledgeable about financial products and services, and are only half as likely to feel as well prepared to make wise financial decisions as men.

In order to take the lead with financial decisions, most women need some level of professional assistance. Understanding available products and services such as annuities, mutual funds, stocks and individual securities is important. Equally critical is knowing where to turn for financial advice.

To build long-term financial security, it’s a good idea to begin with the basics: Analyze your existing debt-versus-income-and-savings ratios; review your knowledge of life insurance products; become familiar with workplace retirement plans and IRAs; and ramp up your understanding of the benefits of annuities. These are all topics you can explore with a financial professional.

To learn more go to www.prudential.com/women. The site includes helpful life-stage checklists, easy-to-understand guides to financial products and services, and first-person financial accounts that provide encouragement and support.

Educating yourself and getting help when you need it can give you the confidence you need to provide for your family now and well into the future.